Suntory price hikes: Beverage giant does not foresee ‘major impact’ from alcohol increases

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

The Yamazaki Distillery has been renovated to showcase Japanese whisky-making craftsmanship. ©Suntory
The Yamazaki Distillery has been renovated to showcase Japanese whisky-making craftsmanship. ©Suntory

Related tags Suntory Beverage & Food Alcohol price hike Japan

Japanese beverage giant Suntory expects a “slight demand fluctuation” for its products in light of price increases from April 2024, but does not anticipate a major impact on sales.

Starting from April 1, 2024, the price hikes will be implemented on 19 SKUs of five domestic premium whisky brands, as well as 98 SKUs from 19 brands of whisky, liqueur and wine.

For the domestic premium whisky ​brands, the price increases will range from 20% to 125%. For instance, the suggested retail price of Suntory Hibiki 30 years, Suntory Yamazaki 25 Years, and Suntory Hakushu 25 Years will increase from JPY160,000 (USD1,400) to JPY360,000 (USD3,200).

As for the other whisky, liqueur and wine products, the price changes span 4% to 57%. For example, The Macallan 30 Years will see its suggested retail price rise by 57%, from JPY351,360 (USD2,400) to JPY550,000 (USD3,700).

“It has become difficult to maintain existing prices due to increases in production costs and Free On Board (FOB) prices caused by soaring costs of raw ingredients such as grain, materials, and transportation, which cannot be absorbed by the company’s efforts alone.

In addition, the prices of our domestic premium whiskies, such as Hibiki, Yamazaki, and Hakushu, will be revised to enhance our brand value. We will continue to further improve our craftmanship quality and production facilities to realise environmentally friendly processes, elevate consumer experience, and produce top-class alcoholic beverages,” ​Suntory told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Challenging to meet rising demand

At the same time, the firm has not been able to “fully respond” to the growing demand for Japanese premium whisky both locally and internationally in recent years.

This is despite Suntory’s various efforts to strengthen its manufacturing facilities, including adding stills and storage, and renovating the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries to raise productivity and rationalise logistics.

We will strive for a stable supply to meet the demands, and remain committed to providing valuable, high-quality and attractive products to our customers.

A slight fluctuation in demand is expected for some products [as a result of the price hikes, but we do not anticipate a major impact in sales volume,” ​the firm said.

Going forward, Suntory will focus on addressing evolving needs of consumers across its entire alcoholic beverage portfolio. It also aims to create new demands through a combination of marketing strategies for both on-premise and off-premise sales of its products.

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